Using Engaging Science Experiments to Teach Your Child
When it comes to your child’s oral health, one of your major tasks as a parent is teaching them about the importance of a great oral hygiene routine and integrating this routine into their day. Getting your child interested in oral hygiene might feel like a struggle at first, but there are actually plenty of fun activities and experiments you can use to get your child engaged and interested in their oral health while showing just how important oral hygiene is. The lessons you’re trying to teach will better stick if your child is engaged and having fun — and it’ll be more fun for you, too! Plus, starting this process early builds healthy habits in your child and protects their teeth and gums in the long run, helping them stay healthier well into adulthood. Here are a few science experiments you can try at home to entertain, teach, and engage your little ones!
Eggshells are made from calcium, so they make an easily accessible comparison to tooth enamel for home science experiments. This experiment involves soaking hard-boiled eggs overnight in different types of liquids, including water, a dark-colored soda, and vinegar. Give your kids the chance to guess what they think will happen to each egg, then check the eggs in the morning. The egg that was soaked in soda will be stained brown, so it will look the most different visually, but the shell of the vinegar egg will be squishy!
You can explain why these changes happened and how it relates to your child’s own teeth, and then you can drive home the importance of brushing their teeth with one final step. Give your kids a toothbrush and let them try to brush the stained egg with water, then with toothpaste. While the stain won’t come off with just water, a little elbow grease and toothpaste should start to get the egg clean. It’s a great way to show your kids how much the foods and drinks they consume can change their teeth and how important brushing their teeth with toothpaste really is!
Plaque is usually pretty hard to spot while it’s on your child’s teeth, so it’s often hard for children to relate to the need to get rid of it. After all, seeing is believing, and your kids can’t see the problem you’re talking about! Thankfully, there’s some very fun and eye-opening science experiments you can do at home to help your child see the plaque on their teeth. Disclosing tablets are chewable tablets that turn the plaque in your children’s mouths bright colors. Your children will love the colors, but it’s also a great way to help them relate to and better understand the importance of good oral hygiene.
Since chewing the tablets before they’ve brushed their teeth will make it easier for your children to locate and clean all the plaque from their mouths, this experiment can also help them learn to be more thorough during their oral hygiene routine. Using a tablet after they’ve already brushed their teeth can also reveal spots they’ve missed, helping them to go back and get those spots more thoroughly. Whether you use it as a one-time experiment or regular aid to help your child learn to brush their teeth better, it can be both a fun and educational activity that helps them improve their oral hygiene routine.
Making toothpaste with your kids is a fun way to get them involved in their oral hygiene routine. Plus, just like any time you make something with your kids, it’s a great opportunity for bonding time. It’ll feel more like a fun craft or cooking project for your kids than it will a science experiment or a learning experience! There are plenty of homemade toothpaste recipes, including several specifically meant for kids and designed to taste better to them, so you can pick a recipe that sounds good to you. While you make the toothpaste, you can explain why different ingredients are going in it or talk about how toothpaste helps keep teeth healthy. Working with measurements even allows you to fit in a little practice with numbers or math concepts for your little ones, so this can be a fun but very educational activity for your kids!
We always tell kids that bacteria feed on sugar, but this science experiment is a great way to show them just how big of an impact sugar can have! It’s also an incredibly simple experiment that can be done with ingredients you likely already have at home. All you need to do is mix warm water and yeast in two cups, then add sugar to one of the cups. Be careful to stir the mixtures with different spoons so that no sugar makes it into your sugar-free mix. As you mix the ingredients, you can explain that like the bacteria in your mouth, yeast thrives off of sugar. Then all you have to do is wait and watch! The cup that has sugar in it will foam a lot, potentially even overflowing. Seeing this reaction can help show your child what’s happening in their mouth, even if they can’t see it. You can then explain how flossing and brushing their teeth protects their mouth from bacteria and keeps their teeth healthy.
Making “elephant toothpaste” doesn’t provide a result that your kids can use to clean their teeth — it just creates a fun chemical reaction that results in foam. When you create this mixture in a bottle, the foam erupts from it in a way that looks like toothpaste being squeezed from a tube. It’s still an incredibly fun experiment that provides an opening for you to talk about toothpaste and how it helps keep teeth healthy. It also has value in the way it’s able to also teach your child about science and chemical reactions. Younger kids will simply think it’s cool that the bottle heats up as the foam begins to form, but you can explain this chemical reaction in a little more detail to slightly older kids. The yeast works as a catalyst to separate the oxygen from the hydrogen peroxide and produce heat in the process, making the result a great example of an exothermic reaction. Your kids will have a blast with this experiment while learning about both science and oral health!
Children learn best when they’re engaged and having fun, so these science experiments allow you to meet your children at their level. Your kids will have a blast, but they’ll also be able to learn through experiencing the concepts you’re talking about, giving them a better long-term understanding of just how important it is to take good care of their oral health. Your children will carry this understanding and the related habits you’ll help them form into adulthood, impacting their oral and overall health for a lifetime.